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Prometheus (****)
directed by Ridley Scott
written by John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Principal Cast
Noomi Rapace -- Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender -- David
Charlize Theron -- Meredith Vickers
Idris Elba -- Janek
Guy Pearce -- Peter Weyland
Logan Marshall-Green -- Charlie Holloway
Sean Harris -- Fifield
Rafe Spall -- Millburn
Emun Elliott -- Chance
Benedict Wong -- Ravel
Kate Dickie -- Ford
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood


spoiler alert

Based on ideas by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett and designs by H.R. Giger

Prometheus is a major science fiction film, most notable for its thrilling action sequences and outstanding special effects. It is a prequel to Alien, and the ending paves the way for it to be the first of a Prometheus Trilogy.

Alien was directed by the same director as Prometheus, Ridley Scott. The sequel to Alien, Aliens, was directed by Avatar director James Cameron. Aliens was better than Alien because James Cameron thinks. Ridley Scott is not interested in thinking, at least not about plot. Alien did not make sense, neither does Prometheus. To mention just one plot point among many, after your stomach muscles have been severed and then stitched up, you cannot sit up in bed, much less run and fight.

Prometheus is full of references to other movies. Lawrence of Arabia is referenced most explicitly, with clips, but there are also many visual echoes of 2001 A Space Odyssey, especially where the character David is concerned.

The structure of the film is essentially the structure of a 30s science fiction story. The setting is introduced. The characters are introduced. Expository lumps explain what the characters are doing and what they hope to accomplish. "Philosophical" questions are raised, notably evidence vs. faith, the proper relationship between man and his creator, between a child and her father. Then, all of this is set aside for a spectacular special effects action fest, with lots of explosions and hairbreadth escapes. There were two survivors of the Nostromo. This time we gain a head, but do without the cat.

The other major sf film of recent years, James Cameron's Avatar, is structured like a 40s science fiction story, a story written after Robert A. Heinlein showed how to avoid expository lumps, how to show rather than tell. As soon as someone in Avatar begins to explain anything, the hero goes off and gets into trouble, and we see what the planet is like rather than having it all explained to us. That is better storytelling.

But as an action flick, Prometheus is totally enjoyable, worth seeing more than once.

No credit cookie.

Copyright © 2012 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon. Visit his web site at

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